Welcome to Show Me The BOOKS!

Welcome to Show me the BOOKS! A blog about literature for elementary school students. All posts include a summary, a citation, and teaching suggestions along with websites for lesson extension or references. Please explore and comment!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is an inspirational story about two sisters who complement each other in many ways. They cherish their family and their family values while living through financial limitations and racial discrimination. The story is a reflection of Katie's life, who describes her families' life through her relationships with her family members. Things for the Takeshima family are difficult, with both mom and dad working. Katie's older sister Lynn, teaches her everything she knows and takes care of Katie when mom and dad aren't around. But everything changes for the Takeshima family when Lynn, the rock in the family, becomes ill. This story is a family oriented one that explores family morals in a unstable society. It shows the effects of economic status and the effect of illness and death on a family. 
           Kadohata, Cynthia. Kira-Kira. New York: Aladdin, 2006. Print.  Teaching Suggestions for Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Before reading, introduce the story to the students and point out the locations of which the family lived and the locations they travel through on a map: Ohio, Georgia, and the places they pass in between. Most terminology from the book come from those locations. Also, introduce Japanese terminology that will arise in the text, and show that their definitions are explained within the text. (First example of this is on the first page, first chapter: Kira Kira). Discuss the racial separations between Americans, Japanese Americans and Chinese or other Asian Americans. *Information for further exploration can be found on one of the supplemental websites- Listed below. 
  • During reading, have students point out the major components in the relationship between Katie and Lynn. Explore each character, maybe using a graphic organizer, and compare and contrast the two. What makes them similar? or different? How do they complement each other? Determine the morals and values each of them cherish.  Continue adding in information while reading.
  • An after reading, writing prompt can be: Using the events leading up to Lynn's death, rewrite the ending of the story. How will you change or alter Katie and Lynn's relationship? Will Lynn still pass away? What events will you add into the story? Will Katie still have anger towards Lynn? Use your character comparisons to alter the ending.
Supplemental Websites for Kira Kira
  • Japanese American National Museum provides information from research and historical information about Japanese Americans. There is also background information on historical exhibitions from the museum that provide insight for students. 
  • Asian American History provides history, demographics and issues of all Asian American cultures.*

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